The UK’s chronic housing shortage is one of the biggest challenges the country faces. The Government is aiming to build 300,000 new homes every year to match demand and keep housing costs affordable, but less than 250,000 were built last year, the highest rate in a decade. But contrary to popular belief, there is not one single national housing crisis. In many parts of the country housing is relatively affordable, and supply keeps up with the demand for new homes.
Instead, Britain has many localised housing crises focussed on its most economically successful cities and towns where employment opportunities draw in large numbers of people. These housing crises are caused by how our planning system disconnects the local supply of housing from local demand.
Cities with the biggest housing shortages are primarily concentrated in the Greater South East of England such as London and Brighton. But some places elsewhere like Edinburgh, Bristol, and York are also affected.
Many expensive cities, such as Oxford and Brighton, often build far less housing than cities with cheaper housing and lower demand, such as Wakefield and Telford. This is because the supply of houses has little connection to prices and therefore the cities with the most unaffordable housing.
There is huge variation around where in large cities and towns new homes are being built. The vast majority of development happens either in city centres or on the very edges of cities. Meanwhile, half of all these suburban neighbourhoods have built less than one home each year.
The UK doesn’t have a national housing crisis, but there is a housing crisis in our most unaffordable cities. Our work offers ideas on how national and local leaders can get homes built where demand is highest.
This report uses new data to examine which neighbourhoods within cities are building the most and the least new homes and explores what this means for policy making.
This report investigates the amount of space people have in different cities and how this has changed since 2011. It sets out what should be done to give people more space and make housing more affordable as the economy grows.
Releasing green belt around more than one thousand existing commuter stations would solve the UK housing crisis.
What's the relationship between urban economies and housing wealth in England and Wales?
The scarcity of new homes in Britain’s most economically successful cities has created huge inequalities in housing wealth.
Urban homeowners in the South East made on average £80,000 more in housing equity than those elsewhere in England and Wales from 2013 to 2018.
This wealth inequality exacerbates existing social problems, and may have been one underlying factor in many areas’ strong Leave vote in the 2016 EU referendum.
The housing crisis also creates huge cost for the rest of society. The money spent on housing benefit, the difficulties that the NHS, police, and schools has in staffing roles in expensive cities, and homelessness are all linked to the unaffordability of housing in certain places. Fixing their housing shortages will reduce pressure on the rest of the welfare state.
The UK must concentrate homebuilding primarily in economically successful cities where demand is highest.
The current planning system will not deliver homes at this scale or in the right places. Only a wholescale reform of housing policy will deliver the development needed.
What changes are needed to get more housing built where it is needed?
Politicians and campaigners from across the political spectrum are coming together to push for changes to green belt policies
The Government’s revised planning rulebook focuses too much on rural areas, and not enough on cities
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Ending the planning system’s rationing of homes through its discretionary granting of planning permissions is essential to end England’s systemic shortage of housing, and the housing crises in the most unaffordable cities and large towns.
Centre for Cities has responded to two important consultations for the White Paper on planning reform within England.
Ending the planning system’s rationing of homes is essential to end England’s systemic shortage of housing.
The UK Government has launched major reforms for the planning system – but only within England. These reforms, which will divide all land in England into three zones (growth, renewal, and...
Last week, the Government announced the most radical reforms to the English planning system since 1947. Citing our most recent report on the planning system in the White Paper, the proposals share...
Anthony Breach takes a look at the learning about the pandemic that recent housing research provides, along with potential solutions to guide the rebuilding effort.
Hints from the Government that England will shift to a new zoning system could end the housing crisis – but we must learn from other countries abroad to avoid their mistakes.
The increase of the threshold on stamp duty is most likely to encourage movement in cities in the Greater South East as well as giving homeowners in this area the greatest benefit.
Landbanking is caused by the current discretionary planning system. A new flexible zoning system will end landbanking and the housing crisis.
Why the current planning system causes a housing shortage, and how a new planning system — with flexible zoning — will end it.